Careers 2016 - Realities & Remedies

Back in 2009, I gravitated toward Twitter and Linkedin and gained expertise in those social platforms because I knew they would have a foothold in job searching. And so were podcasts-the revolution of learning. Two supposed trends that became mainstays and invaluable job search tools.

As a seasoned career professional, I held unbridled faith that career issues would continue to evolve, so Global Social Media Expert Keith Keller an Entrepreneurial Coach Annemarie Cross, Aussies, invited me on their podcast to talk about career change. You can listen on iTunes here.

Career evolution is here! Let me share realities and remedies for all the age groups:

REALITY: Careers are NOT linear, and not necessarily rational in nature;  therefore, there are no rules.  

REMEDY: In the new knowledge-based, digital economy, it is necessary to P.L.A.N. If you tune in to the iTunes link I gave you earlier, I talk about what to do. PLAN stands for:

Prep, learning, action, networking

Any age group, from millennials to baby boomers can benefit from this.

1. Preparation is key. You may find yourself preparing for a career path, but because careers are not linear, you must pay attention to serendipity and your greatest career guide, your intuition. 

I speak from experience. I left my dream career of radio broadcasting and returned to university in my thirties to get a second degree in education (English/French). My intent was to be a high school teacher, but I became a career practitioner and occasional teacher....and I haven't looked back in seventeen years. 

Lesson learned?

Use every resource in your career arsenal to help you make an informed decision. 

Do a a self-assessment (learning about yourself and identify your USP (unique selling points) to sell to potential employers.  This will become your personal brand.

And this is a HOT tip: we are not necessarily hired because of our skills and qualifications. Rather, we are hired because of the brand that sets us apart from our competitors (other people competing for the job or career you want). 

You have the inner resources to make career decisions (a tenet of solution-focused interviewing and counseling, in which I am certified).

Action - Take calculated risks. As US President Obama said, saying yes opens doors.

Risk taking can be a blessing in disguise to propel you to an exciting and nourishing career. 

Networking- I tell every client that up to 80% of jobs are obtained through contacts, job leads and referrals. When clients tell me that they have no network, I advise them to start with five family and friends and build from there, on and offline. 

REALITY: Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau had sobering words about future careers. He told a radio host that people  should get used to what he called "job churn'' — short-term employment that may include a number of career changes; this applies to the US market too.Young workers need to understand that short-term contracts and high career turnover will impact their careers. Fellow career expert and CEO of J.T. O'Donnell has warned for some time that there is no permanent career. I served as a former career expert on that site.

REMEDY: Be your own CEO of your career. Do everything you can to stay competitive. Few employers will fully train you Figure out what training will be valuable now and in the future. There is no excuse for avoiding an upgrade or further professional development. Websites abound that are low cost like Coursera, and, to name a few.  Try to find a niche and capitalize on it. Remember, you are responsible for managing your career. No one will do it for you. In short, spot trends (like I mentioned in the opener of this article) that will become the new normal in career development. 

REALITY: Some of the most vulnerable populations in the new economy are youth, newcomers and immigrants. 

REMEDY: youth should chase contracts that have the potential for growth, or advancement.

REALITY: Even though employers demand security, there is none.

REMEDY: Track your accomplishments and achievements. I call them milestones And when I help with resume writing, I incorporate them in the form of testimonials in self-marketing documents likes resumes, cover letters and Linkedin profiles. 

Ever watched an infomercial when you can't sleep at night? They are filled with testimonials.

As a Classicist (my Latin teacher was an influencer!), the Romans had it right, when it comes to career development, Fortune favors the bold!

Melissa C. Martin is a bilingual career specialist with 17 years' experience in counseling and coaching military members, military spouses, and people with mental health issues and addictions. Follow her on twitter or website: